I’ve been taking Nia in so many places it’s making my head spin (um, literally!). But it’s very interesting.
Last Sunday after the 5k I went to a great class with an awesome Nia teacher. What I didn’t mention is that that class was actually FILLED with Nia teachers. One of the participants turned out to be a Nia teacher who was visiting from … Ecuador! She was just a few feet away from me and was absolutely amazing to watch: graceful, beautiful, fluid. There was another person near the front who seemed to have an INCREDIBLE amount of energy. Whereas the teacher usually demonstrates, “This is level one.. this is two.. three…” in terms of exertion etc., this woman was operating at like level EIGHT. I was thinking, whoa, are you over the top? Are you trying to outdo the teacher? But it turns out she was an instructor as well. It made me curious – does she teach her classes at that level? Do her students feel intimidated? Or energized?
The next day, I took another class at a new place, where I thought I’d be with a teacher I’d had before and liked a lot (the dimpley, “gooey” one!). But it turned out that she wasn’t there, and the class was taught by a sub. All I can say about that experience is that it was one of the only Nia classes I took where I felt like it just was not a good match for me. The music rubbed me the wrong way (think elevators and dentists). The teacher seemed physically not quite up to the job. She was enthusiastic and seemed to be having a good time, but this class was a little bit too much DIY (do it yourself) for my preference. If this was my first class, I do not think I would return.
Today, I went to a class two thousand miles from home. I was warmly welcomed by the teacher. It turns out this class is brand new, and there were only two students! (including me!) It’s a good thing this was probably my 8th? class or else I would have probably not been able to deal with that. The teacher was good. The other student was good. It was all good. It didn’t knock my socks completely off, but it felt familiar in all the right ways and unique in some good ways too. I thought it was impressive that this teacher could teach a class to TWO people and seem perfectly comfortable and relaxed, as if she were teaching to two dozen. I was happy I went, and I will certainly try to return if I can manage it. After the class, the teacher asked how I liked it and said she had not been teaching Nia very long (could’ve fooled me!). I told her I’d enjoyed it a lot. (true)
One of the things I’ve noticed about Nia is their great ability to “translate” certain movements into descriptions that just make so much sense. I am normally a terrible dancer, I have a hard time following instructions and it can take me forever to pick something up. But some of the phrasing I’ve heard in Nia makes me feel like I “get it” right away and I don’t feel like I am completely out of synch with the entire class. A few things I’ve heard have been: “your hands are seaweed” – (yeah, flowy!) – or, “we’re surfing” (changing balance in that crouched position) – wiping a table, pulling out an arrow (from your stomach? OW!) etc. It’s all very visual an accessible.
I am really looking forward to a big “Nia Jam” coming up in a few weeks, which is a two-hour extravaganza taught by a whole slew of teachers. It should be so interesting! and fun. If anybody around wants to check out Nia, this could be a great opportunity to try it out.